The Taikoskin Blog just did a piece on the unwritten rules of work in Japan. This was my favorite:
“Got a meeting? Don’t express your opinions. Debates aren’t debates, discussions aren’t discussions. It’s just a place for you to say ‘yes’ enthusiastically, bow, and agree with whatever the highest-ranking proposes. And definitely don’t be on time to the meeting. Be early.”
I have been to those meetings. Not in Japan, but I have been to them. Boss gathers everyone to ask how you feel about the recent firing (of someone). What’s the desired response? We’re better off, and reasons why that person wasn’t making us stronger. I’ve witnessed the rare person that says “Actually, I find it quite disturbing…” Usually that person is next. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but inevitably… unless they change their tune.
Boss wants everyone’s take on what to do about something? Ask yourself, weren’t the last 10 meetings just getting your participation in what was already decided anyway? If not, he might be seriously lost and need help. But if it’s important enough to stop everyone from working, the change is already decided upon, 9 times out of 10. The meeting is for you to feel involved. The goal? Figure out which way the boss already decided and recommend that. If we could just add cash betting, seeing, and raising, the game would be more fun.
The other rules Taiko gave are pretty fun, too. I commend them to you, but only in the sense of the surreal world of corporate fascism, or else if you’re working in corporate Japan.